What is XULRunner

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XULRunner is a Mozilla runtime package that can be used to bootstrap XUL+XPCOM applications that are as rich as Firefox or Thunderbird. It is similar to other existing runtime applications such as J2SE Java Runtime Environment (JRE). It provides an innovative technology that developers can use to enrich and integrate their desktop applications.

This runtime package provides a way for installing, upgrading, and uninstalling XULRunner applications. XULRunner will also provide libxul, a solution which allows the embedding of Mozilla technologies in other projects and products. These applications can be written in any Mozilla supported technologies. Some of these technologies are the following:

  • HTML
  • SVG
  • XUL

XULRunner application is an alternative to avoid the use of Firefox. The following are the trade offs of using a XULRunner application:


  • Runs on its own independent process
  • Does not require Firefox to run
  • Markup based UI (like XAML)
  • Allows applications to be cross platform


  • Auto-update code would need to be written
  • Installation files are larger to download when including XULRunner binaries (+13MB)

Note: The listed pros and cons are not all the trade offs of using XULRunner. Instead these are the trade offs of using XULRunner application as oppose to Firefox.